Friday, January 8, 2010

Keeping one step ahead of airplane terrorists

Today's Denver Post quotes President Obama as saying during his report-out on airline bomb-plot security yesterday, "There is, of course, no foolproof solution. We have to stay one step ahead of a nimble adversary." The article states that one of the president's recommendations is to "[i]ncrease the use of explosive detection technology, including imaging technology, at airports."

Here's a thought:

We know that, while the new "whole body imaging" technology might reveal explosives hidden in a person's clothing, including shoes and underwear, it is not capable of revealing explosives hidden under the skin. How long will it be before al Qaeda operatives, who have little to be squeamish about, realize that explosives hidden inside their bodies cannot be detected? For example, in incision could be made in the abdomen and the explosives neatly tucked inside. The chemical that ignites the explosive could then be injected through the skin once on board the airplane. (If oxygen is required for ignition, a tube that protrudes through the skin might suffice. The tube would also facilitate ignition.)

Since current technologies offer no defense against this scenario, I would propose that all passengers be subjected to a full strip search before boarding. This would reveal any recent scars and apparatus that might fit the above description. I realize that this would be likely to reduce the number of people interested in flying. However, this would be a boon for the environment. Oh, and it would also create new jobs. Not many proposals can be said to reduce the risk of terrorism, save the planet, and help end the recession at the same time. I would promote the program through the slogan, "Shy? Don't fly."

No comments: